Of the many things I’m learning in my new position is just how one individual has so many projects going at once. Rohini, and others like her with large development-oriented field projects, has a veritable army of students, RAs, research managers, field managers, enumerators, and post-docs to keep a million different parts moving. This translates into several big things for me. The first is that the work environment is much more social than any one I’ve ever been in.
I have to admit that being in India and the Philippines this summer has been a bit like being at summer camp. We all work in a big room together. We’re living in the same guesthouses and hotels. We’re mostly each other’s only friends, so there’s lots of time together. Thus far, there’s been a little bit of mentoring, lots of “how do I do this in Stata?” talk, lots of research talk exchange, and a whole lot (at least for me) of beginning to understand the process of both how this organization works and how others like it might work as well.
The other big thing about the size of the organization is that “my” research group is putting out papers on topics that I’ve never really thought about. For instance, topics in environmental economics. I took environmental economics, I think I even got an A in it, but I don’t think about environment the way I think about gender (sorry, Dr. Walsh!). When I think about gender and labor and discrimination and families and health, research ideas come out of every corner and I can barely keep up. When I think about the environment, I kind of just get depressed about how we’re destroying it. Corruption is another big space in which people are working that I just don’t know that much about.
Without any explicit instructions to do so, I kind of feel like it’s my duty to understand the papers that are coming out of this group. So when this one (gated), with an almost incomprehensible title, came across my desk for the fourth time this week, I figured I should read it. I’m starting to get my head around it and feel like I’m learning a ton, but luckily for me, we’re still talking about issues closest to my heart.